The Love Wins Companion: Going Deeper

Derek Ouellette —  November 16, 2011

Thanks almost completely to Rob Bell’s book, Love Wins (and those who helped bring our attention to it, like Justin Taylor and John Piper), the landscape of the theological blogosphere of 2011 has been dominated by the subject of Hell.

Rob Bell came under extensive fire, heavy by foe and light by friend. We were constantly reminded that “Rob Bell is not a scholar, but…” and the “but” would lead into something like, “he is influential and he’s made some pretty hefty mistakes that require a scholarly response.”

Now it seems that Bell has rounded the year off by publishing with HarperOne (make no mistake about it dollar signs are draped in the background) with a second book, “The Love Wins Companion: A Study Guide For Those Who Want To Go Deeper“. Well I certainly want to go deeper, but I’ve been drained so much by the discussions of hell this year that I have no desire to run out and pick up this companion. As it is I have “The Evangelical Universalist” and “God Wins” on my shelf both begging for my attention, yet my mind grows weary just thinking about picking them up right now.

But in case you are not like me, in case you are still hot on the subject, I wanted to bring this book to your attention.

I haven’t read it. I eventually may.

I am curious, how many of you plan to read this book any time soon?

(P.S. Doesn’t the book cover have a closer resemblance to Mark Galli’s God Wins than to the original Love Wins or is it just me?)

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Derek Ouellette

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a husband, new dad, speaker, writer, christian. see my profile here.
  • Craig L. Adams

    I just downloaded it to my iPad via Amazon. I’ll let you know about it. (I’m currently reading a book I really, really like so, it may take me a little while.)

    Answer to your question about the cover: yes.

  • Charles

    Derek, I’m completely with you.
    As much as I think perhaps I should think more about this topic, I have no strength to actually do the work. Maybe someday…

  • James

    If the book is what it sounds like it is, then it sounds like it could be a great read – Rob Bell’s arguments in his book are pretty light and incomplete, but they’re based on more well-thought out arguments that have been given before by various theologians. If this book digs deeper into those, then that is quite welcome.

    On another note, definitely take a read through “The Evangelical Universalist”. It’s a fantastic book on the subject that *is* written by a scholar. and as it predates the Rob Bell debacle, it won’t feel nearly as much like you’re wading back into this whole thing. It is also very different than other books on either side that I’ve seen, because it’s not primarily about philosophy or proof-texting, or taking a couple verses and using them as a filter for the rest of the Bible, but is about overarching story and themes, and how (in the author’s opinion) universalism fits the Biblical narrative better than other views. It’s an excellent book and I don’t believe anyone has given universalism a fair enough look until they’ve read it.

    • Paul Bruggink

      It is interesting to note that one of my favorite authors, John Polkinghorne, while not a theologian, does appear to support some form of universalism: “I don’t believe God’s offer of love and mercy is withdrawn at death. We still have a free will after death. We’re still human beings. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter what we do on earth, but Gehenna is over-interpreted.” [Dean Nelson & Kark Giberson, “Quantum Leap: How John Polkinghorne Found God in Science and Religion” (Monarch Books, 2011), p. 147]

  • Paul Bruggink

    I have not nor do I plan to read Rob Bell’s book(s) on Hell. If I have the time, I might go back and read a few of the dozens of reviews of “Love Wins.” In the meantime, I have a copy of “The Evangelical Universalist,” which I plan on reading eventually.

  • LCK

    I did not read Love Wins and have no plans to read The Study Guide. It’s not that I’m not interested in the topic. On the contrary, I think it’s important to have a thoughtful, biblical answer for my friends who ask about it. I just get so frustrated with Rob Bell’s bad exegesis (and obsession with white space) that I can’t get through more than a few pages without throwing the book across the room.

    I’ll follow up on some of the other books recommended by your readers.

  • Craig L. Adams

    Well, I downloaded it this afternoon & I’m now about 37% of the way through it. Still no decent bibliography — I checked. The book contains some short articles by several writers: N.T. Wright, David Dark, Anne Lamott, Frederick Buechner, Peter Rollins among them. Lots of discussion questions. No advocacy for universalism — well, I mean, not so far, and I don’t expect any.

    It’s not really designed for reading straight through like I’m doing.

    Oh, and it’s written in normal paragraphs.

    • Derek Ouellette

      Thanks Craig, I look forward to a review (if you do one). P.S. I like Frederick Buechner. His book, Telling the Truth, is literature par excellence in my opinion. A great book for pastors.

      Just to be clear, the articles by Wright, Lamott, Buechner et al. are previously published articles, rather than contributing articles, right?

      • Craig L. Adams

        It contains previously published material from: David Dark, Oswald Chambers, N. T. Wright, Shayne Moore, Peter Rollins, Pope Benedict XVI, Richard J. Mouw, Donald Miller, Anne Lamott and Frederick Buechner.

  • John Merda

    Now that Rob Bell has his audience questioning what’s real, what’s not and what needs re-interpreting, it’s awfully nice of him to provide a companion book to feed us his version of the answers.

    The “Love Wins” book, in my reading, only threw the dirty bath water of uncertainty, and questionable doubt in the face of historical Christianity.

    Now it’s time for the snake to come in to cement his answers.